When the work van pulled up in front of Arizona Helping Hands, I recognized the company name.
I thought my friend Dale was coming to say hi and tour the Arizona Helping Hands facility where we provide essential needs to children in Arizona’s foster care system. It turned out that Dale and his wife Pam were not stopping in for a social visit, they were coming to access our assistance.
Like so many others, they received a call from the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Their two grandchildren were in need of safety and love --- the kind that only grandparents can provide.
Dale and Pam had been on the path to a peaceful retirement. They were looking forward to more cruises (in the pre-COVID days), and a life without the challenges of 24/7 parenting. They had already played that role and were excited about a more carefree future.
When their daughter’s issues put their grandchildren’s lives in jeopardy, they didn’t hesitate to step in and help.
Such a change is difficult, and for the first time in their lives they needed a helping hand. The beds, personal care items and more provided by Arizona Helping Hands eased the process, and helped their grandkids become comfortable in their new surroundings at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
This is what we do every day at Arizona Helping Hands. We provide children in foster care with a safe place to sleep, we provide items to make foster homes safe and to give boys and girls whose lives have been turned upside down a bit of dignity, comfort and hope. We also layer on lots of love, showing our support of foster parents and the children who desperately need caring adults in their lives.
Brandon and Corina stepped forward to help three children, ages 10, 14 and 15. He tells us the kids battled homelessness while their parents continued to abuse drugs. The three boys and girls were in need of a safe home. This is what fostering is all about --- providing refuge to children who have been abused and neglected.
Adding three youngsters to your household is challenging on its own, even without the pressures of figuring out how to accommodate their most basic needs. Arizona Helping Hands took care of those things for Brandon and Corina. The support that we provided made the path easier.
Brandon wrote that he never would have imagined personally utilizing the assistance of a charity such as ours. He expressed heartfelt appreciation to us for continuing our mission to provide crucial items to children in foster care. He knows how difficult it is to foster and the importance of the work we do every day.
Brandon expressed his appreciation for others who foster on a social media post. “I extend my love and admiration. Thank you for your heart and passion to help children overcome bad situations.”
You can never know when you might be in need of a helping hand. Every day children are removed from unsafe environments and a search begins to find them a safe place to land. It is foster parents who are asked to change their lives to make sure this can happen.
Remember when you find yourself fostering a child, even if it’s at a moment’s notice, Arizona Helping Hands will be here to support you and to walk beside you on your journey.
Editor's note: Dan Shufelt is president and CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, which provides basic needs to Arizona’s children in foster care. Learn more about the organization and donate at azhelpinghands.org.